Statoil abandons DOE-backed offshore wind project in Maine

Source: E&E • Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013

Statoil ASA yesterday said it is pulling the plug on a planned offshore wind project off the coast of Maine.

The move came after the state announced plans to reopen a competitive bidding process for offshore wind projects in the state’s waters, which Statoil had already completed. Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) administration opposed the project, and the governor signed legislation in July to allow the University of Maine to submit a bid for the project.

Statoil in a statement said the changes “made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed.”

State regulators had approved Statoil’s project in January, which would have required a 20-year contract with the company. The project would have installed four wind turbines 12 miles off the state’s coastline. LePage had said the plan could increase costs for ratepayers.

“At a time when our economy is struggling, we need to be certain that this investment will bring Maine’s jobs along with it,” said Patrick Woodcock, the director of the governor’s energy office.

Statoil received $4 million last year from the Department of Energy to complete the planning and evaluation phases of the project (E&ENews PM, Dec. 12, 2012).

With Statoil’s departure, state regulators will continue to consider the university’s plan. Few details are known about that proposal because much of the university’s documents have been filed confidentially (AP/Fuel Fix, Oct. 16). — SP